Thursday, October 11, 2012

I've never been much of a dancer, but there was exquisite choreography in the 5am baking sessions at Two Tartes, too many years past now. Mondays through Fridays, and only myself as partner save the dozens of scones, the galettes & cupcakes. A blindfold would not have slowed the pace, which was scheduled to the minute. One misstep meant a lost sale. I kept the pace.

In the coldest of winter I kneaded with my apron tied around a fleece jacket, scarved up to my chin, until the convection ovens began pumping out their radiant heat, and the storefront windows fogged.

Always there was music, and loud: Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Loreena McKennit, Johnny Cash. My alto harmony. No one to hear but the lumbrous  50-pound flour sacks, the many scoops of oats, and the massive bar of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate (eight pounds? ten?) which I wrapped in a towel, took a hammer to.

Later in the winter, on the cusp of the new season, the price of strawberries began to drop, and I'd slice through flat after fragrant flat, fold them into buttermilk scones with a generous handful of white chocolate chips. I penned a card: Berry Whites. Every day they were gone well before the lunchtime rush.

Round about 7am, there would be the predictable call from a desperate customer to "reserve" a toffee brownie: the equivalent of crack, for the (too) low price of $1.25. And legal to boot. (And probably shouldn't have been.)

I don't miss my middle-of-the-night alarm clanging, but I do miss that dance, and mightily. I miss that sugar two-step, that waltz of everything good.

Golden hours, golden days.


  1. beautiful. i can see you clearly here, the fogged windows, the cold kitchen, the loud music jamming you through your tasks.

    in so many ways it was a glorious time. your love of the work, the food, the process, shines through in this post.

  2. You made me wish I could time travel for a taste of those scones and brownies. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of those golden days. I'd miss them too.

  3. You almost made me wish for my old sugar days as well -- but not quite because I found the work grueling!

  4. The joy of a good job well orchestrated. I rocked to folk music while I threw the shuttle. Thanks for the dance through your job.

  5. Beautiful, vivid recollections, T. You took us right there so we could see you work-dancing, smell your heavenly baking. xo

  6. Elizabeth, I always say that it was the hardest I've ever worked but it was also the best time of my life.

  7. Joanne, I'm assuming the shuttle refers to a loom? Weaving?
    Please tell more....